JudoInside – News – Distria Krasniqi takes gold at Mediterranean Games

At the first fay of the Mediterranean Games in the Algerian harbour city of Oran five different countries have won a gold medal. The judo event is being staged in the Meridien Hall, the same venue as the African championships a few weeks ago. The participation of 23 countries from 23 possible shows the importance of judo at the Mediterranean Games. With 73 women and 84 men, the total number of participating athletes is 147.

In the lightweight division it was French Melanie Vieu who claimed the gold medals. She threw with a neat sumi-gaeshi to reach a semi-final with Petitto (IITA). After being thrown for a waza-ari with a nice combination of sode-tsurikomi-goshi into o-soto-gari, Vieu won by waza-ari-awasete-ippon with uchi-mata-sukashi and koshi-guruma. The final was won in golden score with a return to the sumi-gaeshi, to earn gold for Vieu. Top favourite Nikolic (SRB) threw and held to reach her semi-final and there she held Stangar (SLO). Stangar came back to the podium via a different route, beating the winner of the repechage for bronze. On the other side of the draw, Bedioui (TUN) won the repechage final contest with kata-guruma against Muminovic (KOS) and then won the bronze medal contest with the same technique, taking the medal ahead of Lapuerta (ESP).

Tokyo Olympic champion Distria Krasniqi (KOS), now fighting U52kg, demonstrated a perfect ko-uchi-gari in the quarter-final against Asvesta (CYP) and then used more ashi-waza against Pezez Box (ESP) with a lovely de-ashi-harai winning in the semi-final. A strong o-soto-gari in the final meant the gold went to Kosovo. Youngster Ana Viktorija Puljiz (CRO) won her quarter-final against Aissahine (ALG) with just penalties between them. A more positive semi-final gave Puljiz a place in the final after she defeated Iraoui (MAR) and the Moroccan then dropped into a bronze medal match which she lost to the young French challenger, Devictor, in golden score. Perez Box won the second bronze.”

In the category U57kg 22-year old Marica Perisic (SRB) was a top favourite and didn’t disappoint. She won her quarter-final against Vellozzi (FRA) on penalties and then the semi-final by ippon on the ground. The final however, was won when her opponent applied a forbidden hara-gatame in tachi-waza. This is never the way a judoka wants to win but this kind of rule is there for the safety of all athletes. Giulia Caggiano (ITA) threw with seoi-nage against Loxha (KOS) in one quarter-final and then employed a strong seoi-otoshi in semi-final against Bozkurt (TUR). I was pleased also to see the uchi-mata of Samardzic (BIH) against Halata (ALG). Loxha (KOS) delivered with a great tsuri-goshi in her repechage contest against Ruiz Muro of Spain and she threw Bozkurt of Turkey too, to win the bronze.

Double European Champion Fran Garrigos (ESP), 6th on the WRL, applied a skillful sode-guruma-jime in his quarter-final against Yagoubi (ALG) and then continued on the ground, beating Bassou (MAR) with a hold in the semi-final. Switching to tachi-waza, Garrigos won the final with a stylish tomoe-nage. The whole category brought variation, with good wins in standing and on the ground. Teen ager Youssry Samy (EGY) took a bronze medal U60kg.

Egyptian Mohamed Abdelmawgoud utilised a transition phase well in his first to finish in osae-komi, following the trends of the whole event so far. In the final U66kg he finished with waza-ari-awesete ippon on the board, collected via koshi-guruma and seoi-age. Matteo Piras of Italy had a very good day, beating the experienced Spanish competitor Alberto Gaitero (ESP) and moving on to face Strahinja Buncic (SRB) in the semi-final. From there it was a sode-tsurikomi-goshi which took him to the final and eventually a silver medal. It was a surprise to see Gaitero lose again, being dominated by Maxime Gobert (FRA) in the repechage. Gobert’s uchi-mata was beautifully timed and was too much for Gaiteiro to respond to. Gobert and Croatia’s Klacar took the bronzes.

At the end of the first day there were gold medals for 5 different countries, 10 countries reaching the podium overall. Europe was strongest but that’s to be expected. Africa gave a good showing and left day one with 4 medals.